Just to kick things off, it should help to know that the Surface is the newly overhauled version of a classic bike this team had been building for years, the Voyager, and with this overhaul, you'll see features that few manufacturers still include in their designs. Oh, and Chromag achieves the wonder you see for no more than $2,121 (€1,947 at current exchange rates). But that's a price for just the frame. If you want the full build that Chromag offers, you'll need to whip out over twice that, $5,131 (€4,710).
Now, to get a feel for what's going on, I want you to imagine seeing this bike for the first time. The first cue that may hint that it's made from steel may be that polished shine coming off the frame. You'll then touch it, feeling a cold shiver run down your spine. That's just Chromoly working its magic, and part of the reason why this bike is priced as it is, even though it runs a full Sram GX eagle and RockShox setup.
However, a fork with this much travel is bound to affect your bike's geometry, and on Surface, that's more than evident. As it stands, the head tube is set at 65.5 degrees, making it feel as though it's ready for some wicked downhill tracks. So that you don't lean too far back on a bike with no suspension, a seat tube of 76 degrees is used to center you a little better and bring you closer to the handlebars. I am curious as to how that feels with a 122 cm (48 in) wheelbase on a large-size bike.
At the end of the day, Surface Voyager seems to be the sort of bike that can take whatever mix-and-match ideas you may have and allows you to express them on a frame that's bound to keep you happily riding around for a few years. A machine to consider if you're in the market for a trail-romping hunk of steel.